Teeth premiered at Sundance in 2007 to positive reviews—with Jess Weixler, the film’s lead, receiving the Special Jury Prize for Acting. The film was written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein, the son of famed pop artist Roy Lichtenstein and chronicles the travails of college student Dawn O’Keefe, a purity movement evangelist with a terrifying secret.
“As the film opens with O’Keefe and her stepbrother Brad in a paddling pool, we learn her secret—she has vagina dentata (“toothed vagina” in Latin). Brad attempts to molest her and ends up with a bleeding finger,” Kale explains.
Teeth follows O’Keefe as she struggles to maintain her purity vows all while dodging the unwanted advances of her abusive stepbrother and rapist classmates.
A decade after the release of Teeth, the producer and director of the feminist comedy-horror classic talk to Broadly about how the movie overcame a bungled release and found a cult following among a generation of young women.
Like many of John Waters’ earlier films, ‘Teeth’ offers a powerful critique of America’s sex-obsessed culture, as well as “an incisor-sharp commentary on male entitlement, consent, and sexual violence,” says Kale.